My Grandchildren’s Christmas Play.

I attended my grandchildren’s Christmas play this morning. When they appeared on stage the mum, dad and myself had to wave until the two boys caught our gaze. They were ready to get on with the show knowing family were watching.

It doesn’t seem so long ago since I was watching each of my own boys and girls in a traditional Christmas play. They would dress up as a shepherd, an angel, a wise King or a donkey. They sang songs about Jesus birth.

Today’s event was different. The children invited us to see how six other nations celebrate Christmas. Poland and China were my favourites. The little ones were dressed in red Chinese costumes and flat hats. I must congratulate the teachers on managing so many young students. A big effort indeed.

I called my son last night to tell him I wouldn’t be able to make it. I was too far away, too cold, too sore, too old, too tired, too alone and my car wasn’t working. I awoke early. I changed my mind and made the effort to go. Ressurrection power kicked in.  The electric plugs had fused. First hurdle to overcome. I dressed in warm clothes because the chilly cold winter winds were blowing. I got the ferry. It was navigating across from Portaferry to Strangford on choppy waters. I sat nervous in my van. I hoped the wind would die down for my return journey.

All the effort was worth it to see my son’s and grandchildren’s smiley faces because granny came along. I remember being at a school event after my first grandchild was born. Everyone was congratulating me on being a granny. It must be an important hurdle for a woman. We now have eighteen grandchildren. Most of them live too far away to attend school plays. They live in far flung places; Canada, Slovakia and Dublin.

I’m glad I didn’t miss today’s Christmas show.

Healing the Wounds

The season has changed.  This weekend the clocksgo back.  I went outside and looked up at the full moon high in the sky.  It was lighting up the land and sea below. I spent a few moments marvelling at the beauty all around. Praise The Lord maker of heaven and earth.  I didn’t stay too long in the chilly air. I headed off to bed looking forward to the extra hour under the blankets.

Here at my home in Northern Ireland it is a beautiful day. The sky is blue and clear of clouds. The sun is shining brightly, yes more brightly than normal. It shouldn’t be so warm at the end of October! The yachts and boats that were moored in the bay have gone.  The owners brought them to the harbour.  They have been hoisted out by a crane a few days ago.  It’s time to store the craft for the winter.

My grandchildren are visiting. It is warm outside, the air still and the water surface like glass. The conditions tempted the children to go down to the shore. It is a perfect day to go messing about in the water. They persuaded grandad to help them put our boat in the water again. It is a small yellow pedalo. It glides quietly over the water. No need for oars, sails or an engine. Just turn the pedals with your feet. Our grandchildren have such fun in it. No need to own an expensive yacht. The only equipment each one needs is a life jacket. Supervised from the shore by grandad and their mum, the children paddled effortlessly up and down the bay till their hearts were content.

I am reminded of the scripture,

“The light of the moon shall be as the light of the sun, and the light of the sun shall be seven times brighter, in the day that the Lord binds up the breach of his people, and heals their wounds.”
‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭30:26‬ ‭KJV‬‬

As I am writing this I hears the calls of some birds overhead.  I look up.  It is a chevron of seventeen swans flying south.  They must have taken advantage of the perfect weather conditions, light by day and night to migrate south for the winter.

I am nursing a broken arm. It is very painful. I am feeling helpless and miserable. I fell from a stepladder as it crashed under me. My right arm and bottom took the full impact. Today, three weeks on I am encouraged by God’s word. My wounds will heal.

If you are feeling discouraged, are sick or heavy burdened don’t despair.  Look up.  See creation all around.  Your Heavenly Father who created all this beauty cares for you.  Through believing in his son Jesus you will be healed.   It’s time for your breaks and wounds to heal.

“Be still and know that I am God”

An October Morning.

Oh the stillness of Monday morning.
The house is quiet.
No popping of the toaster, or the kettle boiling for tea and coffee.
The high chair is empty till the next grandchild comes to visit.
No airport pickups today.
Visitors from far away places in England, Canada and India have left.
The light, warmth and stillness invites us outside.
The calm after the storm.
Our friend the robin welcomes us.
He flutters and swirls around me, excited.
Others birds in the forest are singing their hearts out.
Two blue tits come down inquisitively looking for food.
A blackbird calls.
A solitary Raven chases away any competitors for the food scattered on the lawn.
The sunshine glistens on the water, thousands of lights dancing.
Tinkle, tinkle sounds come up from the last yacht below in the bay.
Where is the sun bed?
It hasn’t been packed way yet.
I stretch out and look up.
A few dry leaves drift past.
There is the blue sky beyond the bare branches.
Somewhere up there in an aeroplane is my son and his family.
I will savour the sunshine and beauty.
It’s a new day, I will not be sad.

Granny Brings the Snow.

There was a meager amount of snow in Portaferry this week compared to other areas of N Ireland.

In Ireland we enjoy a temperate climate, not too hot in Summer and not to Cold in winter. We don’t have extremes of temperature. It means we can be outdoors all of the year. We don’t need air conditioning Summer or Winter. A fire in the hearth will get us through any unusual cold spell. We can gather there to keep warm.

N Ireland has been enjoying a cold spell with falls of snow this past week. The Christmas winter wonderland scene has come early. A log fire sounds so romantic. But a store of sticks have to be prepared beforehand. There’s nothing like a stack of logs neatly stacked away slowly drying. Thankfully Brendan and the boys get wood ready every year.

One can’t pass the opportunity to relax when it’s cold outside. It’s time for a crossword or a jigsaw puzzle. I’ve been working on one these last few days.

The cold weather can suddenly restrict one’s routine. I didn’t want to go shopping. Brendan was going to get some groceries for us. The roads would be slippy. It’s too cold. Then I remembered about my car. It was in the garage getting repaired. I rang the mechanic. Hey presto my car was ready. I forgot to ask how much the repair cost would be. Brendan helped me pick up my car, which meant a journey across on the ferry to Downpatrick and he kindly paid the not so small bill.

To cheer ourselves up we went for coffee. I received a text from a journalist to let me know she had published an article about me in the Belfast Telegraph that day. I bought a few copies. Brendan was distracted from the sting of the mechanic’s bill as we read the paper. I was delighted with the article and my retrieved car.

Brendan and I parted. He went shopping and I drove my car home. There was four inches of snow covering the back, top and front of my car from the snow fall the previous night. I wanted it washed off. I drove to the personalised car wash. It was closed. I went to a garage, it was closed. That snow was not going to budge. I drove back to Strangford to the ferry. I intended to go to the car wash to freshen up my car before I got home.

Strangford and Portaferry are on the edge of Strangford Lough in a micro climate. It’s effect keeps us warmer than inland. Some snow had fallen but it didn’t remain. One of the ferry men asked me where I was coming from. He was surprised to see so much snow on my car. This made me think. Here is my car covered in snow and there’s no snow around. I thought “I’ll drive to see my grandchildren and let them see the snow on top of my car. They’ll be happy to see it.” It was just getting dark.

The children came running out when I called them to see the snow. They coaxed their dad to make a snowman. All the snow was scooped off the car and a snowman built, eyes, nose and all. Their mum told me they had been talking all day about wanting it to snow so they could make a snowman. He still remains in the middle of the green grass of the lawn. God blessed the children with their hearts’ desire. I often say God gives us our heart’s desire. He is a good father.

I remembered Roy Woods’ Christmas song, ” I wish it could be Christmas every day.”
Here’s the first few lines.

When the snowman brings the snow
Well he just might like to know
He’s put a great big smile on somebody’s face
…..
Oh well I wish it could be Christmas everyday
When the kids start singing and the band begins to play
Oh I wish it could be Christmas everyday
Let the bells ring out for Christmas

Granny brought the snow and put a great big smile on the children’s faces even though there was a meager amount of snow in Portaferry.

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/meager/

Daughters in law.

One of today’s reading at Church was from Proverbs 31.

“A perfect wife who can find her? She is far beyond the price of pearls. Advantage and not hurt she brings him all the days of her life.”

One is sure to wonder who one’s son will marry. In India it is the tradition to have arranged marriages for sons.  The mother of the son gets to arrange a suitable wife. I’m thankful we don’t have that tradition here and I’m sure my sons are thankful too. I was reassured and comforted by a the scripture that says I will give your sons understanding wives.

Fathers can give their sons an inheritance of houses and wealth, but only the Lord can give an understanding wife. Proverbs 19 v 14

This word doesn’t say what religion she will be, what nationality she will be, what family she comes from,  if she is a good cook, or what kind of a job she has.  There are no conditions, only that she is an understanding wife, chosen by God.

Five of my eight sons are married. Tamara is from Italy, Marta from Slovakia, Rachel from Ireland, Morven from Scotland and Simone from Canada. My boys moved beyond the parish. These are the days that Daniel spoke about. Knowledge and travel will increase. My children have got to avail of both. Thanks to Ryanair and Airtransit they have flown to Europe and Canada to find wives.

I came across these two photos on my phone today. I am encouraged that’s these ladies are enjoying wearing necklaces I made. They inspired me to write this blog.

It was my daughter in law, Simone’s birthday this week. Isaac and his family live in Canada. When Hannah visited them recently she gave Simone a necklace that I made. She was delighted with it. A little bit of Ireland.

Morven, who is married to Patrick lives in Scotland.  I’m happy too she  is  wearing the green sea glass necklace I made.

I’m thankful for all my daughters in law that God has chosen for my sons.  They are under the shadow of the Lord’s wings and are covered by the Blood of Jesus.  They are and will be the mothers of some of our grandchildren.

A Walk in the Wicklow Hills.

Last weekend, Brendan and I were visiting my daughter, husband and family in Wicklow. They were glad to see us. She had a welcome meal ready for us after a long journey. The children were reminiscing with their grandad and remembering the video he made showing them dive off the pier. They are already looking forward to next year’s summer camp at Granddad’s house.

Shann was sorting out school clothes and putting away items the children had grown out of. The cuffs of the girls’ school jumpers were a bit frayed. A few stitches will repair them. Thread and needle were searched out and granny used her skills to make all things new.

The washing machine churned out sheets, socks, jumpers and tights. Clothes were brought in from the washing line and left in a pile on the kitchen table to be sorted later. More clothes were hung out to dry. I watched my daughter doing her washing from the comfort of the cosy chair Shann had purchased for me. I remembered back to when my children were young. The end of holidays was a frenzied time getting everyone one ready for school again.

Shann coaxed Brendan and I to go for a walk. They live in a beautiful area in the hills of Wicklow. I had to leave my cosy chair. I enjoyed the stunning views and the banter with the children. Two of the children brought their bicycles with them. They are like me, not too keen on walking.

We rested at the end of the lane. Wild fushia and heather were in bloom. Bees were buzzing collecting pollen. Trees that were planted by the forestry a few years back are now growing tall, replacing the trees that had been harvested. A new generation of trees.

Our grandchildren are now growing tall. I’m not quite ready to be chopped down. I asked my Maggie, my granddaughter who had her bicycle if I could borrow it to save my legs on the journey back to the house. She agreed. I sailed down the brae but gave it back when I came to a steep incline.

I joined the others to walk the last part of the lane. After a while we noticed Maggie had gone on ahead and she hadn’t waited for us. There was an inviting part of the lane up ahead. It was just perfect for me to sale down. But Maggie and her bicycle were nowhere to be found.
She must have been frightened that granny may have been too heavy for her precious bicycle.

When I returned home North I resolved to do some exercise to get these dry bones working again. I got out my own bicycle. Despite the pain and aches I will overcome and get fit. As I said I’m not ready to be chopped down or sit in the corner doing needle work. I have a lot of living to do yet. I am staying alive to proclaim the works of the Lord and to see more of my children’s children.

“Children’s children are a crown to the aged, and parents are the pride of their children.”
‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭17:6‬ ‭NIV‬‬

The First Flowers of Spring.

My daughter, husband and four children came to visit yesterday. They have to make a three hour journey from the south of Ireland.  This was their Christmas visit as life was too busy for us all to see each other then.  The children have past the baby and play school stage. No buggies or car seats to contend with. Now the grandchildren are approaching the teenage years. Long legs and reaching arms need room.  They are blooming like the flowers Shann reached me.  Mark’s people carrier Jeep has served the family well.

They all poured out of the vehicle, glad of the stretch. We shared hugs, so glad to see each other. Bags of presents weren’t forgotten in the back seat. I didn’t notice their visiting student from Spain at first. She is staying with them for six weeks to improve her English. A student exchange has been working between Ireland and Spain for many years. The Spanish like the tone of the English the Irish use.

I remembered back to when we would take our children on trips in our van to the beach, the playground or a forest. They poured out of the van and ran in every direction like calves released from the stall. Brendan would whistle and they would come back when it was time for home.

We gathered in the kitchen for lunch. The children were excited to be back at Granda’s house.

“I’m sorry they’re a bit battered and bruised,” Shann said. I wasn’t paying attention as I reached a bowl from the cupboard. There was clattering of delph and cutlery as the girls set the table.
“Did Mark have to stop and deal with the children?” I said thinking it was the children Shann was talking about.  I looked up.  She was referring to the bunch of flowers she had given me.
We all had a good laugh. I love this first bunch of spring flowers.

“Did you come across on the ferry?” I asked Mark. “Yes” he said. “The attendant informed me there was a special offer on this Sunday. If you buy a return ticket we can deal with any children who have misbehaved. We throw them overboard.” We burst out laughing again. This is Irish humour. I hope the Spanish girl didn’t mind.

On the sunny afternoon all the girls headed down to the shore. Hannah arranged a competition to see who could pick the most sea glass for granny.  That was good idea because it motivated them to search all over the place. They had the extra blessing of seeing different birds, a heron, gulls, oystercatchers, Brent geese and redshanks.

Back at the house the treasure was displayed and counted. Ten points for each blue glass, five for green and three for white. The winner was announced, cheered and rewarded. They had good fun. I have the added benefit of all that sea glass to work with.

image

Meanwhile Mark, with some helpers loaded up bicycles, table and chairs he had stored with us since they moved house. He secured it to the top of the jeep. No worries with Mark. Too soon it was time to go. Mark sped off with a bigger load. I hope they got across on the ferry with no one or nothing going overboard.  A great day.